Monday, April 19, 2010

Pointed Question

Crystal recently posted about the death of Antony Flew, a British philosopher. In an excerpt from one of his books (Reason and Responsibility), he describes how people engage in a watering-down of the God assertion in the face of logic or evidence.

So, for example, he says, we say we believe that God loves us like a father. Then we see a child dying of inoperable cancer of the throat, his earthly father driven insane with grief, but his heavenly father (who ostensibly is able to do something about it) apparently unmoved.

"It's OK," says the theodicist. "this is because God's love is somehow different from human love, inscrutable or beyond human love or constrained by free will or somesuch."

And so our meaty and reassuring understanding of "God loves us like a father" is redefined and eroded, until it's not really the same thing we meant in the first place.

Then Flew asks this:

"What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of the love of, or the existence of, God?"

I'm interested in how people answer this question, because I'm not sure whether it condemns me (because I have "watered down" my definition of God in order to keep it) or justifies me (because my understanding of "God" has changed significantly in the face of this sort of evidence).